We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.  ~ Hilaire Belloc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end

~ Ursula K. LeGuin

 

 

 

 

 

Receive a FREE CAMERA BAG from Think Tank Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey

~ Babs Hoffman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.  - Douglas Adams

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."

John Muir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in
government." -
Thomas Jefferson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


When we realize our insignificance in this world,
it some how relieves the pressures from society to succeed - 
Cindy Bonish 04/07

     2010 Year in Review

Quick Recap of the Year

There really isn't much to talk about this year in the realm of RVing or Traveling Fulltime.

Except for my trip to Arizona to the Overland EXPO and our month long trip in August to the U.P. Overland in Northern Michigan, Cindy and I have been pretty stagnant.

That's only in the traveling world.  In Cedar Key, we brought a small motel from one that could barely keep its head afloat to the busiest motel in the small town.

Our occupancy rates went up 4x's what they were and we're already booked solid for numerous months in 2011.  So to say we've taken time off is just silly.  We've simply taken time off from the traveling lifestyle.

January and February of 2010 was busy cleaning and redecorating the motel rooms at the Low-Key Hideaway.  We had to have so many things updated or replaced that many thing the motel is new.

The RV spots, although still lacking in some areas are now updated with Cable, Wi-Fi and electrical boxes that arent just sitting on the ground with bare wires.

The tiki bar out back has been a chore all year long and right at the end of the 2010 season, we finally got our Beer & Wine license.  2011 will be an interesting year to see what becomes of this little tiki bar.

Even though we dont have too much to talk about when it comes to traveling, there hasn't been a day that has gone by that we haven't thought about it.  We still talk about where we plan to go, and we're always talking about things we want to change on the camper or on the truck.

We thought it would be fun to go back and answer these same questions now that we've been sitting still for a year.  Many of the areas have taken on a calling of there own as you sit day dreaming about them while plugging away at work.

Now onto our questions we always answer in the Year In Review Recap

What Was Our Favorite State? (This is probably one of the most asked questions)

Pat - In last years Year In Review, I mentioned Utah, and I'll have to say that I've been thinking alot about Utah this past year.

I look back on our time in Moab, riding motorcycles on the slick rock, hiking in Arches National Park and exploring the Coyote Buttes and I have an overwhelming feeling to go escape to the desert.

Maybe its because I've been by the water for so long while being here in Cedar Key, but I know that when we spent months in the desert, I longed for the Ocean.  I guess it's human nature to want what you dont have.

Cindy - I'd have to say California.  I love so much of that state, that each time someone asks me this question, I go into great detail with various sections of the state which usually results in more of an answer than they bargained for.

Where Was Our Favorite Campground?

Pat - I know I've always said I dont like traditional Campgrounds, so it sort of comes as a surprise that Cindy and I have been running one for a full year. 

While talking about what we would like our campground to be, we always find ourselves talking about the East Cape RV Resort in Los Barilles in Baja Mexico. We always say if we could design the perfect campground, it would mirror that one.

So if asking what my favorite campground is, it would have to be East Cape RV Resort

Cindy - I agree with Pat that we compare all other campgrounds to the East Cape RV Resort, so I'm going to have to say that place was pretty special to me.

What is the One Thing We Miss the Most From our Past Lives?

Pat - This year that's an easy answer.  It would be traveling fulltime.  Sitting still has really shown me what an amazing life we had on the road.  Right now we're like everyone else and have fulltime jobs, tons of excess baggage that causes undue stress in our lives and I've gone back to the habit of collecting useless gadgets.

I made it a point to tell Cindy I'm going to start getting rid of anything that cant fit in the camper so when we go back on the road, I can go back to my simple life with 200 square feet of space.

Cindy - For our first few months sitting still, I never even thought about our travels or how amazing they were.  Then one night Pat was working on a slideshow before he left for the Overland EXPO and he asked me to sit and watch it with him.  We had to time it to see if it would last the hour he was supposed to be talking.

As I sat watching our own photos on the screen, I was overwhelmed with the places we've been and the things we've seen.  I was the one who took most of those photos, but to see them put together like that, it had never really hit me how much fun we were having.

I started to get the travel itch and we were able to calm the itch with the U.P. Overland trip we did in August, but it only made the itch worse once we got home and went back to work.

We've put a ton of work into the Low-Key Hideaway, so we have to stay still for a little while longer, but we're already working on our net leg of the adventure and it should be even more fun than anything we've done up to this point.

What is the One Thing We Like the Most About Traveling Fulltime?

Pat - Again, sitting still for a year has been grueling for me.  Luckily we had a huge task to tackle with the motel and getting it to where it is today.

2011 we plan to make some money and sock it away so we can hit the road and go back to our gypsy lifestyle sooner than later.  I've yet to find a drug, an event or anything else that gives you the high that being on the road without a care in the world or a place to be offers the mind and soul.

Cindy - Sitting still, I didn't realize how much I enjoyed waking up each morning some place different.  It's so amazing to be in so many different places and be able to fully saturate everything they have to offer. 

I liked being on our own schedule and not having to rush through anything.  I feel so bad when people come to visit us here in Cedar Key and I know it might be the only vacation they take that entire year.  If they get here and the weather turns bad, I feel like it's my fault and it stays with me for a few days.

When we're traveling, if we hit bad weather, we can simply hang out in the camper and catch up on the photos, our blogs or snuggle up and read a good book.  I love being able to wait out the weather and just hang out till we get the right conditions we came for.  It's the best way to travel in my book.

What is the One Thing We Like the Most About our Camper?

Pat - Being out of for a year with nothing but memories to think about, I really liked how small it was.  Do I think we could get by in a smaller unit?  I know I always used to talk about that, but looking back, I dont know if we could.

I do know that I had always talk down on Airstreams because of how little storage space they had, but by the time we landed in Cedar Key and we'd been on the road for 3 years straight, most of our storage bins were empty.

I honestly think we've got it down to such a science that we could move into an Airstream and still have plenty of space.  Not that we could ever afford one, but I do like how cool they look when they're all polished up and the same length and size as the one we have now would be considerably lighter.

With the beautiful places we tow our camper, if we had a mirrored finish like a polished Airstream would have, it would make for some amazing photographs.

Cindy - Sometimes when I have to go out and get something out of the camper, I just sit and look around at it and it makes me feel at home.  Its such a cozy little cabin and has so many memories for me.

There are plenty of things I'd like to change, but I really like our little camper for how small it is, how self sufficient it is and how many places it can take us that normal campers wouldn't be able to.

What is the One Thing We Like the Least About Our Camper?

Pat - I'm still going to go with the lack of having a dedicated computer station.  I really want to figure out how to add one or make something where the computer can stay set up at all times.

Cindy - Counter Space!  I mentioned it earlier, but its the hardest part about cooking or preparing meals is the lack of counter space.

What is the One Item We Couldn't Do Without?

Pat - The Solar Panels!  Again, I say this every year, but they make RV Camping so easy.

Cindy - Our Big Norcold Refrigerator.  We like to hit a big town, stock up on food and then go retreat into the boonies for a week or more.  Many times the small towns have much higher prices when it comes to their groceries.  Being able to stock up with lots of food and necessities when the prices are less expensive has probably saved us thousands over our years on the road.

When ever we look at new campers, the first thing I usually notice is how small the refrigerator is.  If we ever get a different camper, we'll probably take our Norcold with us.

One Item We Made the Mistake of Buying?

Pat - This past year I've tried real hard to not buy anything that I know I cant live without.  I've done pretty darn good and I've actually sold a bunch of stuff that used to just sit around in storage bins.

Cindy - We've been very conscious about what we purchase these past few years.  We made an agreement to one another that since we didn't have a income, if we both said we needed an item on multiple occasions, then and only then would we buy it.

If we see something that grabs our attention, but it might not be able to be used on a daily basis, we just leave it alone.  This is much harder than you think when it comes to Pat's impulsive buying habits, but he's done good this last few years.

What Was A New Product You Got That Really Impressed You This Year?

Pat - I was always bitching and whining about how much dog hair was in our camera bags.  When ever we were going to go out for a shoot, it would take me some time to organize all the camera gear and find it amongst the multiple camera bags we carry it in.

This year, I moved up to a big Pelican 1650 dry box.  It holds EVERYTHING we own, and seals watertight to keep out dust, dirt and dog hair.

When we're going out for a photo shoot, I simply load up one of the ThinkTank Bags and when we get home, I put everything back where it goes in the Pelican box.  They make handling alot of camera gear much easier.

Cindy - The Nintendo Wii game system.  We got this after playing it with family and I told Pat it would be a great workout for us.  It's so fun to play and its surprising that the next day you'll be sore from playing a video game.  We're already trying to figure out how we're going to bring it in the camper with us.

What is the most important thing we have learned in our fourth year on the road?

Pat - Since we've been sitting still most of this year, I've really been paying attention to what we had with us and what we actually used.

I've trimmed down alot of what I plan on bringing back out on the road with us and I dont really want anything that isn't used or needed on a regular basis.

I've got some great ideas on how to pack the gear we bring in a better manner and I'm saving up to build some new boxes to store stuff in.  If we had money, things would be so much easier...LOL

Cindy- Pat & I have both been talking alot about what we had with us and what we plan on putting back in the camper when we go back out on the road.

I think it's good to take a step back and re-evaluate what you're actually using and what you really need.  There was lots of stuff that we carried with us that we never used once.  I think by the time we head back out on the road again, we'll be much more streamlined and it'll be a easier way to travel. 

I'm really looking forward to heading back out with everything we've learned while sitting still.

One Item We Found that We Never Knew Existed?

Pat - There are lots of items that have come onto the market in the past year that I think will make a big change in the RV world.  LED Televisions that draw considerably less power will really change the way people can outfit their campers.

LED Bulbs have come down in price considerably and within the next few years, I'm thinking they'll even be affordable for consumers to switch their fixtures to.  I'm thinking that by the time we get back on the road in 2012, even more electronics will really help make fulltime travel much more simpler.

Cindy - I fought this kicking and screaming, but ever since Pat upgraded his phone to a smart phone, it really saves us some time when traveling.  I cant count the amount of times I've Goggled and address to find a place we're looking for.  If I'm bored, I can go on facebook or if we're having an argument over something we both cant decide on, we can Goggle the answer and solve the argument on the spot.

I told him I'd never want one of these sophisticated phones, but I cant wait till my phone breaks so I can move up to one.

Our Favorite Place for Food?

Pat - I would have to go back to New Orleans.  I think I gain 15lbs every time we visit this city.

Cindy - This answer will always be my kitchen.  My passion is cooking and experiencing with different foods and different flavors.  Someday I'd love to have a big commercial kitchen in my house and have all the cooking utensils to go along with it.

Pat can sit and drool all over his Cabela's catalog and his travel magazines, but I get the same way over a Pampered Chef catalog or a Williams Sonoma store.

Our Favorite Place for Nightlife and Entertainment?

Pat - I'd still have to say the people watching in New Orleans - Top Notch!!

Cindy - Halloween in New Orleans this year was something I'll never forget.  Check out The Gallery Pat put together and let me know if you've seen anything as wild as that.

Best Piece of Clothing to Have?

Pat - Living in a humid environment, this past year Cindy and I have found the long sleeve Columbia Sportswear Omni-Shade Wicking Shirts to be a lifesaver.

These long sleeve shirts actually keep you cooler than a short sleeve shirt by wicking the moisture away from the skin and keeping the sun from baking you. They also act as a SPF of 30 so when spending long hours out in the sun, you dont have to worry about re-applying sun protection every few hours.

They're so worth their price!

Cindy - Those shirts Pat talked about are an amazing piece of clothing for hot and humid weather, but I always revert back to my cowboy boots as my favorite piece of clothing.  I got a new pair for Christmas this year and they're the coolest boots I've ever owned.

What is the Hardest Thing We've Found about Living on the Road Fulltime?

Pat - Repeat from Last Year - Earning Money.  When we put a Donate button on our website we got some flack from people leaving comments like "You want us to fund your lifestyle when you dont even have a job!?!?"  Some people were downright rude and left some pretty nasty comments about even having the donation button on there.

But when we stop traveling to get jobs so we can earn some money, we get twice as much feedback from people complaining that we're not keeping the blogs updated.

I dont think people realize how much of a fulltime job the blogs, the website and the non-stop traveling is.  I'd say if you were to add it up, we put in a minimum of 25-30 hours each week just on our blogs, the photo editing and the behind the scenes work that is never seen or talked about on the blogs.

Plus, the website alone costs us a few hundred dollars each year to keep active.  The computers and camera gear seem to be always needing something and the internet card we pay for is $60 each month so we can keep the website updated while on the road.

Many people think we're simply rich and dont have to work, but we're anything but rich and most would be surprised if they knew we were usually trying to scrape together anything we can to simply stay afloat.

If we had money, we'd probably stay in alot more campgrounds or places that cost money but offer a more picturesque place to sleep.  It's not always that glamorous to sleep in truck stops or rest areas on a nightly basis, but if it means staying on the road more, than that's where we have to stay.

Cindy - I'd have to agree with Pat.  Not having a fulltime Job with a regular income really makes it next to impossible to continue to travel.  When we stop, our readers get upset, but we need to stop to get jobs to pay for our travel expenses.  It's sort of a Catch 22. 

If anyone knows any companies that want their products tested or is will to become a sponsor, feel free to direct them to our website and have them get in touch with us.

I cant tell you how many emails we get saying "You both should start your own Reality Show" or "You should have a film crew following you around", but without proper funding, no one wants to see us sitting still working.

What is the Easiest Thing We've found with Living on the Road Fulltime?

Pat - Its so easy to be a gypsy.  I honestly dont think humans are supposed to be stagnate people.  We're designed to migrate much like animals do.  Moving more often keeps the load light, keeps you from collecting too much stuff and it means you use less because you're following the temperate weather where you're more comfortable.

Other than having to stop for work, I see no use in living in only one place for any length of time.

Cindy - The easiest thing is not having a schedule or having to be anywhere at anytime.  I really like that and the longer we sit still, the more I long for that feeling of freedom again.

Our Favorite National/State Park?

Pat - Yellowstone without a doubt.  But that's during the spring and fall months.  It's amazing to me that most of the visitors come during July and August.  Those two months the park was empty of animals to photograph and the temperatures made hiking and enjoying the beauty hard to do.

Spring time with all the babies was straight out of a National Geographic Documentary and September and October during the rutting/bugling season was music to our ears and eyes.

Cindy - Last year I said Yellowstone National Park, but I've been thinking alot about Yosemite National Park and Arches National Park.  I love to hike, and both of these parks offer some of the best hiking in the world!!

One Item We Wish We Could Change?

Pat - This was my same answer for last year and I'm hoping to get it changed  before we go back on the road in 2012.

The motorcycle carrier and mount.  I'd love to move the motorcycle to the bed of the truck so I could shorten our length and keep an eye on the bike while driving.  It's my one thing that I always worry about.

I think I made a mistake with buying the ARE cap and not spending the money on a good aluminum flat bed (Highway Aluminum Beds) with some built-in storage boxes.  It would have cost a bit more in the long run, but the usability of it all would have made up for the cost ten fold.

Cindy - There are numerous things I want to have changed before we go back out on the road.  I'd like to have different Kayaks.  We really want to get rid of our traditional sea kayaks and move to sit-on-top style.

I'd like to have storage boxes built either on the truck or on the camper to hold much of the stuff that is needed, but not on a daily basis. I'd like to have something changed inside the camper to give me more counter space, but we're working on that.

I'm worried about our truck due to its injector problem, so before we leave to go back out fulltime, I'd like to make sure we either have that issue fully resolved or have a different truck.

What is the Most Important Thing We Want to Do/Accomplish in 2011?

Pat - Saving a bunch of money so we can go back on the road for 2012 and the end of the world as we know it :)~

Cindy - This year will involve a lot of planning on routes and places to visit in the New England states.  We've yet to explore that area, and with such a small window of opportunity due to weather, I'd like to make sure we see as much of it as possible when we go through there.

A Few Things We Learned in 2010

2010 was quite the year for us.  We stopped traveling for the longest time in 3 years and worked our tails off.  We both really enjoy hard work and love to entertain people, which is what the Motel/RV and Tiki Bar was all about.

We know we want to go back on the road for a few more years and have built some great connections for when we do that.  We know that we'd like to end up opening a RV Campground somewhere out West or in Baja, but that will be later on down the road.

The Low-Key Hideaway was sort of a stepping stone to teach us some skills we can use when we want to do it again, but with our own dime.  Stay tuned and see what evolves from our experiences at the Low-Key Hideaway

A few Tips & Tricks we've learned in our first few years on the road.

Work Camping and the Work Kamper Website. If you are trying to stay on the road fulltime and dont have a retirement income to lean on or a trust fund with your name on it, then Work Camping might be for you.

This is basically what we did for the 5+ months we spent in Yellowstone National Park.  Will you get rich working and traveling like this?  NO, but it can keep you on the road for much longer than traveling fulltime without stopping here and there to work will allow.

Plus you get to meet some cool people and its a great place to network to find other places where people are traveling and what's available.

Passport America - This RV membership costs $45 to join, and enables you to stay in select campgrounds for half price.  We waited till we knew we were going to be staying in an area that had a few of these campgrounds to choose from, and in a single week of camping for half price, we more than paid off the membership cost.

The membership is good for one year, so in that time, we feel that we will make our money back tenfold when it comes to savings.  Make sure to check with the campgrounds as many have blackout dates, but over the course of a year, we'll save some serious money.

When we do stay in a campground, we always try to make sure it is a Passport America affiliate

Recycling while on the Road - Being major recyclers when we lived at home, it was killing us to be tossing out so much recyclable stuff while on the road.  What we've learned to do, is carry a few of those heavy duty washable plastic bags (The type you're supposed to use for grocery shopping when you don't want to use their bags) in the back of our truck. 

One is for aluminum and steel recyclable cans and any other plastic that's recyclable.  By crushing any of the cans and squashing anything plastic, we are able to go for long durations between recycling centers.  The second bag is for cardboard or paper products that are recyclable.

Kudos to states like New Mexico, Minnesota, California and parts of Arizona that had recycle centers at every State Park and a collection center in each town we passed through.  In this day in age, it's just amazing that this isn't mandatory for every state across the nation.

We also try and stay away from anything in glass containers simply because of their weight and breakability factor while bouncing down the back roads of America.  We've found it is also harder to find recycle centers that accept Glass containers.  This is weird considering that it is less expensive to make glass from recycled materials than it is to produce the product from scratch.

A Good Set of Water Filters - This was another thing that didn't take too long to figure out.  At first we were only using our fresh water tank for cooking, flushing and showering.  For drinking water we were buying bottled water.   -

 DON'T DO THIS!

The price added up quick, and the amount of plastic bottles we were wasting was just astonishing.  We bought two Whole House Filters from the local hardware store and put a Charcoal filter in the first one with the most expensive Class A filter in second one. 

We also bought a food grade 35 gallon container that we keep filled for drinking water only, but can reuse over and over.  We keep it in the bed of the truck and use it to fill the five gallon jug that we bring into the camper to drink out of.  This keeps our normal 40 gallon water container that is connected to the camper strictly as shower water and water used for washing dishes and what not.

Filtering the water through two filters is amazing how good it makes it taste, and the set of filters cost on average $25 a month.  They say that the filter is good for up to 6 months, but we never know where we are getting out water from, so we stay safe and change it about every month or around there.  This not only saves us a ton of money, but we never have to worry about our drinking water right out of the tap.  And the main reason is we no longer have all those plastic water bottles to recycle.

Less Is More - We learned this the hard way.  When we first left, we thought we needed to bring so much stuff to make the trip enjoyable.  What we found was the more things we had with us, the more we needed to shuffle them around every time we needed to get to anything.

This is also when we learned the saying "The Best Things In Life, Aren't Things!"

It didn't take long before we were filling bags with clothes to be donated to Goodwill, BBQ Grills that rarely got used, but took up valuable space and just odds and ends that never came out of the storage bins all got tossed out or I should say 'given away' to people that might be able to use it.

I weighed the amount of clothes I gave away at one time to Goodwill, and just my clothes were over 50lbs worth of extra stuff! 

I'd still say that we're still a bit overloaded when it comes to junk, but some things we need to keep just incase that time arises when we might need it.  Or at least that's what we keep telling ourselves.

Wilson Signal Booster and Antenna - We only just found this, but it's something that I wish we would have had all along.  This small amplifier hooked up to a short antenna boosts our cell phone signal along with our broadband connection to keep us online even when we're out in the boondocks.

You can read the full review of how we installed this simple amplifier and what a difference it made.   

GPS - There is no need for me to explain this too much, by now everyone should have one or know what they are, but I honestly cant imagine traveling without one.  Our unit, recommended to us by Tom & Mary at the Sunline Meet & Greet has saved us so much fuel and kept us in the right direction, that I cant imagine traveling without it.  Not to mention the amount of arguments it's kept us from happening when it comes to getting us lost.

Another great thing we learned from Tom was about the POI Factory Website.  This website is filled with free Points of Interest that will help you find just about anything you are looking for. 

Satellite Radio - Another item that we cant imagine being without.  For over 20,000 miles our satellite radio has kept us awake, and listening when normal signals just couldn't keep up.  For anyone who spends time behind the wheel, this is a must.

Digital Cameras - I don't even have to go into detail on this item.  But our adventure wouldn't be the same and I'd go as far as to say would be next to impossible if we were still shooting 35mm film.  To see what equipment we use, check out our Photo Gear Page

Forums - I know this doesn't seem like something that would help you with a long distance journey, but being a member of a few different forums was a life saver.

From getting questions answered for free to getting so many hints and tips on great places to visit, many being ones you could never find in a travel guide.  Learning so many things that kept us from making these mistakes ourselves was a huge help. 

By surfing the forums, it made our first year tolerable without making too many costly mistakes.

Our Dirt Bag Cover for our Motorcycle -  We bought the motorcycle brand new, and within a few states of trailering around with it behind us, it looked like it was a few years old and was taking a major beating.

Once we found the Dirt Bag Cover, I gave it a good washing and it's stayed nice and clean for the last 50,000 miles.

Adding Extra Scissor Jacks - While home, we had General RV install an extra set of Scissor Jacks in front of the wheels on the camper.  What a difference this makes while camped.

A Good Attitude - This is a must.  Luckily for us, Cindy and I are both really easy to get along with and can go with the flow in just about any situation.  Traveling full time would be impossible with a poor attitude.

The Mind Frame to Just Slow Down - It took us way too long to shake the idea that we werent in a race and had to get back to anything.  I'd say our first 6-8 months we would both get a little antsy if we sat still for any longer than a day or two. 

We're now just starting to realize that we can sit back and relax when the weather isn't cooperating or just chill when we find an area we really like.  This is one of the biggest obstacles to let go of.

 

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